Hank Barnette, former chairman and CEO of Bethlehem Steel, left, received the Presidential Medal and Charlene Donchez Mowers, president of Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites and President of the Bethlehem World Heritage Commission received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters during Heritage Day at Moravian College on Wednesday morning. (JANE THERESE / Special to The Morning Call)
Moravian College on Wednesday awarded Curtis “Hank” Barnette, chairman emeritus of Bethlehem Steel, the college’s presidential medal and Charlene Donchez Mowers, president of the Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites, an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters as part of the college’s Heritage Day celebration.
“Heritage Day is a special day for the entire Moravian College community every year,” President Bryon Grigsby said in a statement. “This year is even more special since we have the opportunity to honor two people who’ve given so much to Moravian College and the city of Bethlehem.”
Mowers, also president of the Bethlehem World Heritage Commission, has been the driving force to get Historic Moravian Bethlehem, a National Historic Landmark District, worldwide recognition. The district, which pays homage to the city’s Moravian founders, is on the U.S. Tentative list to be nominated as a a UNESCO World Heritage site. The United States uses the list to nominate sites for the exclusive World Heritage designation already bestowed upon the likes of Independence Hall in Philadelphia and Yellowstone National Park.
Barnette is a lawyer, businessman, educator and member of the college’s Board of Trustees. He came to Bethlehem in 1967 as an attorney for Bethlehem Steel and worked his way up to chairman and CEO in 1992. He retired in 2000. He is also a member of the Bethlehem World Heritage Commission.
The Bethlehem site nominated to the U.S. Tentative List in 2016 includes the 14-acre commune where the Moravians settled along the banks of the Monocacy Creek in 1741. They built a missionary community that included a complicated network of artisanal industries.
Today, the Moravian story is told in the well-preserved German architecture that hugs historic Main Street. Moravian Bethlehem includes the Colonial Industrial Quarter, God’s Acre cemetery, the Sun Inn and other buildings owned by the Central Moravian Church, the city of Bethlehem, Historic Bethlehem and Moravian College.
Opening ceremonies for Heritage Day, which celebrates the Moravian tradition, community and service, took place at Johnston Hall.
Nicole Radzievich covers Bethlehem and Bethlehem Township. She's originally from the coal region (Pottsville) and left to go to school at Penn State. She graduated with degrees in political science and journalism and completed an international communications program at the University of Manchester, U.K. She previously worked at The Express-Times.
This article originally appeared in the Morning Call on September 18, 2019, click here to read online: Moravian College honors Barnette, Donchez Mowers on Heritage Day